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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

FEA's opposition to Race to the Top comes as no surprise to House leader Weatherford



Weatherfordclasssize Count Florida House Education Policy Council chairman Will Weatherford among the group voicing stern criticism of the Florida Education Association's opposition to joining the state's Race to the Top effort.

"The FEA has long been in the business of resisting innovative education reforms in favor of protecting the status quo," Weatherford writes in a guest column for the Gainesville Sun. "Instead of supporting a program that will give Florida's teachers, their members, real financial rewards for excellence in the classroom, the FEA has chosen to play politics and fight to sustain a failing system that rewards teachers only for longevity, not for performance and results."

Weatherford — who, by the way, is also fighting the union over proposed class size amendment changes — goes on to call the FEA "irresponsible" to jeopardize the state's chances of getting up to $700 million from the federal grant in these bleak economic times. The money, he argues, would only help improve Florida education.

US Education secretary Arne Duncan has said states that are looking to get into the RTTT for the money rather than the reform are in it for the wrong reasons. Are comments about how much Florida needs to bolster its education budget possibly as damaging as the FEA's decision not to agree to sign off on all the ideas in Florida's plan?

Rubber hits the road on Jan. 12, when the state has requested all districts to submit their memorandum of understanding that they will participate in the state's effort. Stay tuned.

(Associated Press photo)

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 10:45am]


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